Tech Tip Tuesday – August 15, 2017

Q: Right now, I have engineered hardhoods that float over a concrete slab (second floor/above grade).  There have been water leak issues every one to two years usually in summer since I moved in 7 years ago, and no one seems able to fix it.  I’ve been told the water is getting in through the door, or from flashing outside, or from the slab below as water vapor, or that the aluminum slider is leaking/sweating, and that sunlight could also be making it worse.  I’ve never actually seen any water, even when the slab was exposed for several months two summers ago with frequent heavy DC thunderstorms (just a small area of wet concrete once and the discolored and cupping wood, which scrapes against the door).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I hope to find is a solution that will work regardless of the moisture source.  I’m not a pro but propose cutting a square for an entryway there and installing outdoor rated porcelain tile (2 that are 12 x 24 or possibly 4 creating a two foot by four foot entry — although I prefer the smaller option).  The tiles would be surrounded by schluter strips, then the existing wood beyond that.  So here are my questions:

(1) Do you think that will work?
(2) If so, should I seal the concrete (maybe with Redgard), or will that make any potential water vapor migrate further into the unit and damage the hardwoods?  I’d rather have tile issues than wood issues at this point so I don’t have to replace the entire wood in that room.
(3) Any other advice?

 

A:

Thank you for contacting me at the National Tile Contractors Association.

You should not be seeing any water coming in through or under the door sill or into the concrete like this.  The problem of water entering the structure needs to be resolved before installing any floor surface.

In my opinion your problem could be with the door itself, or the installation of the door, or the installation of the deck and it’s framing, or the installation of flashing at the exposed edge of the slab, or any combination of these things.

I have seen this problem before. The subfloor kept getting saturated every time it rained.  The finish floor could not be installed.  The problem was improper installation of a very expensive door unit by the general contractor.  The contractor figured they had installed hundreds of doors and they didn’t need to follow the manufacturer instructions.  After numerous attempts to add more sealant and after removing and replacing the door at least two times, a manufacturer rep came onsite to monitor the installation a third time and, using the printed instructions for the door, directed the contractor on it’s installation.  Problem solved.  The door never leaked again.

Here’s a simple test you can try. Spray the door and sill with a hose or sprinkle water on it with a garden watering can to mimic rain.  Does water come in?  Does it come in under/through the sill?  Does it come in through the door sweep?  If it does, there is a problem with the door / sill and/or it’s installation.  Again, no water should come in under the sill or through the sweep or other door component.  I encourage you to contact the manufacturer of the door unit and obtain their original installation instructions and attempt to determine whether the door was properly installed.  You may have to have the door removed, examined, and reinstalled using the instructions to make this determination.

As you have already been advised, the water intrusion may be originating with the flashing (or lack of flashing) and/or the deck installation and/or the installation of the sill and door.  Water may indeed be gathering in the leading edge of the slab under the deck and becoming saturated and wicking into the top corner of the slab and up under the sill and into the subfloor area.   You need to have that issue properly examined and properly resolved.   I recommend hiring a recognized, licensed, experience, trusted general contractor and have them give you a proper inspection and strategy for correction.  Be prepared to have them remove some deck boards to see what’s going on there.

You need to get the problem fixed that is allowing the water intrusion before you make a decision as to what to do for the floor finish.

There are methods to go about installing the tile, but you don’t want to have water intrusion into your structure. If left unresolved it’s persistent presence may likely  create other, as yet unforeseen problems.

After you have resolved the water intrusion and decide that you’d like to install tile, please get back in touch and I can help point you in the right direction for a proper tile installation.

I hope this helps,

Mark Heinlein, NTCA Trainer/Presenter

 

Taking a look at the testing behind the tech: TCNA Lab active in new gauged porcelain tile standard

Traditionally, Tech Talk is a place to bring information of specific, practical tips for day-to-day tile installation. But this installment will focus on the technical work that goes on behind the scenes in the TCNA labs, which impacts testing, standards and other aspects of tile and associated products that contractors work with every day. This information was made public at Coverings in April.

TCNA Lab active in new gauged porcelain tile standard

When ANSI A137.3-2017 and A-108.19-2017 were approved recently, their 32 cumulative pages represented many hours of work on behalf of “thin tile” advocates across the globe. The science behind the standards, meanwhile, was provided by a tightly knit group based out of Anderson, S.C., who logged approximately 4,000 hours over six months to make the standard a reality.

“While a number of folks in the industry were absolutely critical in spearheading the thin tile project, and in keeping it moving forward at an incredibly rapid pace, there’s no question our lab played a decisive role in its eventual composition,” said Eric Astrachan, executive director, Tile Council of North America (TCNA). “In fact, our lab plays an integral role in the development of many of this industry’s standards – thin tile is just the latest example. We couldn’t develop consensus as we do today without the lab leading the way through their R&D efforts. We’re very proud of the work they do.”

TCNA Lab Technician Scott Davis (l.) reviews results with Claudio Bizzaglia. Testing and research conducted at the TCNA Lab contributes to the development of many tile (and related products) indus- try standards – the ANSI A137.3-2017 and A108.19-2017 gauged porcelain standards being the latest examples.

“Standards development is a challenging and interesting cross-disciplinary project for our staff,” said director of Laboratory Services Claudio Bizzaglia. “We have a standards team that attacks each particular standards project we work on, and then, depending on the nature of the project, we pull in specific additional staff members, depending on their specialties. The standards we’ve worked on recently or we’re working on now include a new surface abrasion method for ceramic tiles, multiple water absorption methods, various aspects of the glass tile standard, ongoing coefficient of friction studies, and the Robinson floor test method.”

“Having a diverse talent base to pull from here at TCNA is a tremendous asset in standards development and other industry-facing projects, just as it is for customer assignments,” Astrachan said. “With standards, the team has the additional benefit of knowing that they’re contributing something to an industry that we care very much about – and then, of course, it’s nice to have that expertise when it comes to helping our customers should a standard be ratified.”

 

Tech Talk – June 2017

Taking a look at the testing behind the tech: TCNA Lab and its contribution to the industry

Traditionally, Tech Talk is a place to bring information of specific, practical tips for day-to-day tile installation. But this installment will focus on a lot of the technical work that goes on behind the scenes in the TCNA labs, which impact testing, standards and other aspects of tile and associated products that contractors work with every day. This information was made public at Coverings in April.

TCNA Lab active in New gauged porcelain tile standard

When ANSI A137.3-2017 and A-108.19-2017 were approved recently, their 32 cumulative pages represented many hours of work on behalf of “thin tile” advocates across the globe. The science behind the standards, meanwhile, was provided by a tightly-knit group based out of Anderson, S.C., who logged approximately 4,000 hours over six months to make the standard a reality.

“While a number of folks in the industry were absolutely critical in spearheading the thin tile project, and in keeping it moving forward at an incredibly rapid pace, there’s no question our lab played a decisive role in its eventual composition,” said Eric Astrachan, executive director, Tile Council of North America (TCNA). “In fact, our lab plays an integral role in the development of many of this industry’s standards – thin tile is just the latest example. We couldn’t develop consensus as we do today without the lab leading the way through their R&D efforts. We’re very proud of the work they do.”

“Standards development is a challenging and interesting cross-disciplinary project for our staff,” said director of Laboratory Services Claudio Bizzaglia. “We have a standards team that attacks each particular standards project we work on, and then, depending on the nature of the project, we pull in specific additional staff members, depending on their specialties. The standards we’ve worked on recently or we’re working on now include a new surface abrasion method for ceramic tiles, multiple water absorption methods, various aspects of the glass tile standard, ongoing coefficient of friction studies, and the Robinson floor test method.”

“Having a diverse talent base to pull from here at TCNA is a tremendous asset in standards development and other industry-facing projects, just as it is for customer assignments,” Astrachan says. “With standards, the team has the additional benefit of knowing that they’re contributing something to an industry that we care very much about – and then, of course, it’s nice to have that expertise when it comes to helping our customers should a standard be ratified.”

TCNA Lab Technician Scott Davis (l.)  reviews results with Claudio Bizzaglia. Testing and research conducted at the TCNA Lab contributes to the development of many tile (and related products) industry standards—the ANSI A137.3-2017 and A108.19-2017 “thin tile” standards being the latest examples. 

IAS Grants ISO 17025 Accreditation to TCNA Lab; Bizzaglia elected chairman of ISO TC 189 committee

The International Accreditation Service (IAS), a non-profit, public benefit corporation and internationally-recognized accreditation body based in the United States, has accredited the Laboratory Services department of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) in all of the methods the lab submitted to IAS. Forty-five separate methods were submitted, including those most central and relevant to tile and installation materials testing.

This accreditation – a voluntary, third-party review process — underscores the Lab’s acquisition of numerous “seals of approval” from a panoply of North America’s largest corporate entities following evaluation based on their individual standards and practices.

“Our team worked very hard to make this accreditation possible, and our success is the result of their professionalism, as well as excellent teamwork,” says director of Lab Services Claudio Bizzaglia. “We look forward to retaining our accreditation and perhaps gaining additional accreditations this summer.”

The accreditation comes at a time of exponential growth for the TCNA Lab, whose revenues have more than tripled in over the past five years, growing consistently since 2009, with major growth since 2013. Bizzaglia attributes the growth to the lab’s results-driven professional environment, a recommitment to customer care and customer service, an expanded sales effort, and, as he says, “a little bit of luck.”

Bizzaglia also counts this growth as a big achievement, as are the result good practices of precision and recordkeeping demonstrated by the tightly-scheduled lab, which contributed to ISO accreditation, and to customer satisfaction.

TCNA Lab Technicians Nicole Spandley and Damon McDowell testing the shear bond strength of thin set mortar on the Instron Universal Tester according to the ANSI A118 method, one of the many market-relevant test methods in which the TCNA Lab is ISO17025 accredited.

In addition, Bizzaglia was elected chairman of the ISO TC189 Committee. He will succeed the venerable Dr. Svend Hovmand, former president and former chairman of the board of Crossville, Inc.

Hovmand has served and is currently serving on numerous industry boards of directors, including those of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, Porcelain Tile Certification Agency, Coverings, and Tile Council of North America. Bizzaglia will become chair on January 1, 2018.

Hovmand praised Bizzaglia’s extensive international work experience developing laboratory methods and standards and many roles in the tile industry, which includes experience in manufacturing and nearly 10 years leading TCNA’s lab.

“It’s an honor to represent TCNA and serve the industry on this international committee,” Bizzaglia said. “Stepping into this role following Svend will not be easy, but I hope to be up to the challenge.”

Claudio Bizzaglia, TCNA’s director of Laboratory Services, has been elected to chair ISO’s Technical Committee TC189 beginning January 1, 2018. This committee develops voluntary, consensus-based standards for ceramic tiles and related installation materials, including grouts, adhesives, and membranes.

TCNA works to coordinate Global Lab Network

Another aspect of Bizzaglia’s work has been completing several rounds of conversation regarding the assembly of a Global Lab Network.

The goals of the Network include establishing standards for precision in test methods among its affiliates, as well as accepted norms for responsiveness and overall service, while also providing forums for best practices, problem-solving, and networking, Bizzaglia says. “We feel that intercontinental cooperation will be of great benefit to the scientific community – not only from a pure scientific standpoint, but from a business standpoint,” Bizzaglia said.

The Global Lab Network can provide trusted lab resources for colleagues in other countries seeking referrals to a lab in the U.S. or around the world. In addition, it may be a vehicle to bring “education and understanding in lesser developed regions that penetrates into the marketplace,” Bizzaglia noted. “It is possible that through reaching out on scientific matters, we may be able to assist producers, not always in compliance with international standards, and provide some help and assistance. We have had good results with this type of engagement before.”

To date, the Network has commitments from the TCNA Lab, which operates facilities in both the US and Mexico, as well as a lab in Brazil. Plans are underway to engage European facilities in the Network.

TCNA Lab technician Tracy Williams measures the warpage, facial and thickness dimensions, and the wedging of a ceramic tile according to ASTM C485, ASTM C499, and ASTM C502.

Tech Talk – May 2017

New ANSI Gauged Porcelain/“Thin Tile” Standards debut at Coverings

More than four years of cross-disciplinary industry collaboration and 4,000-plus hours of research from the TCNA Laboratory Services team have culminated in the announcement at Coverings of two new standards: ANSI A137.3, the American National Standard Specifications for Gauged Porcelain Tiles and Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs, and its companion, ANSI A108.19, Interior Installation of Gauged Porcelain Tiles and Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs by the Thin-Bed Method bonded with Modified Dry-Set Cement Mortar or Improved Modified Dry-Set Cement Mortar.

Currently known in industry parlance as the “thin tile” standards, the standards use the term“gauged” to cover a range of precise thicknesses that can carry different loads and be used in different ways, taking a similar approach to standardized wire gauges and gauged sheet metal. Two classes of gauged tile products are defined—those for wall applications from 3.5 to 4.9 mm and for floor and wall applications from 5.0 to 6.5 mm.

ANSI A137.3 standardizes the minimum required properties for the products themselves and ANSI A108.19 standardizes the methodologies for installing the products in interior installations by the thin-bed method with specific mortars.

These standards, developed for the benefit of all tile consumers, are the result of a multi-year consensus process of the ANSI Accredited A108 Standards Committee, which maintains a broad and diverse group of participants reflecting stakeholder interests in all aspects of the tile industry.

“Interest in gauged tiles has been growing exponentially the last few years,” says Eric Astrachan, executive director, Tile Council of North America (TCNA), which serves as secretariat of the committee. “Such growth encourages more products to enter the marketplace, but without standards tile consumers would have no way to know what to expect in terms of performance.

Installers especially were asking for standards to allow for installation practices to be developed based on consistent tile properties. Without such, it was feared that problems resulting from an undefined range of products could have hindered growth of this exciting market segment. We are very pleased to announce these standards today and congratulate and thank the many across our industry that worked for years on their development. We hope these standards, the first of their kind in the world, will help lead the way forward to international gauged tile standards.”

A free download of a preview copy is available from TCNA at www.tileusa.com, and a professional publication of both standards will be available for purchase from TCNA in July.

Tech Talk – April 2017

A tour through NTCA’s “Innovative Tools” Coverings 2017 presentation

An array of tools that make tiling easier, safer and more efficient will be on display

By Lesley Goddin

This year, at Coverings ’17 (taking place as this book is going to press), NTCA technical trainers/presenters Mark Heinlein and Robb Roderick are conducting a Coverings Conference session called “Innovative Tools in the Tile Industry.” In addition, the session will be presented in Spanish by NTCA technical trainer Luis Bautista, and David Allen Company’s Marcos Castillo. NTCA training and education coordinator Becky Serbin will also be on hand at the session.

The session explores a number of tools available in the industry right now and their benefits. For our Tech Talk section this issue, we are presenting a synopsis of the tools that will be presented in this session, along with photos and the URL, so you can research them on their own and see how they might enhance your installation experience or efficiency.

Several of the products selected for the session offer tremendous innovation in the ability to remove dust, especially in light of OSHA’s new requirements for limiting the amount of crystalline silica in the workplace. These new safety standards are to go in to place this summer. These include the iQTS244 dry-saw, and Alpha Tool’s HEPA Dry Vacuum and Ecoguard series of dust collection devices.
The iQTS244 10″ tile saw from iQ Power Tools is a dry-cut saw with a vacuum attached on the bottom. This saw makes precise cuts in a dust-free environment without the use of water. NTCA technical trainer/presenter Robb Roderick said, “Traditional wet saws have a tendency to spray water around the jobsite, which is why they are normally set up outside or in a garage. This saw works great in freezing temperatures where wet saws would have difficulty.” www.iQpowertools.com

 

Alpha Professional Tools offers the Alpha® Hepa Dry Vacuum, with an extra-large capacity HEPA filter system and a power 2-hp motor. The drop-in HEPA filter is individually certified to have a minimum efficiency of 99.97% at .3 microns. Alpha is updating this vacuum, and a new model will be available in the near future.

 

In addition, Alpha offers the Ecoguard series of dust collection devices (pictured is the Ecoguard EG, an Economy Grinding Dust Collection Cover for larger grinders, fitting most 6” to 8” grinders). When connected to an industrial vacuum the Ecoguard EG moves easily and creates a virtually dust-free grinding experience. Roderick said, “Cutting and grinding creates a lot of dust which can have adverse effects in the user, and require extensive amounts of efforts cleaning up the mess. These products help eliminate those issues.” www.alphatools.com

 

When it comes to mixers, the RUBITOOLS’ Rubimix -9 electric mixer offers a configuration that is more comfortable to the user for mixing thin-set and grout than that offered by traditional  drills, Roderick said. It also has adjustable speed setting allowing you to use it to mix multiple types of products with one mixer. The versatile mixer allows mixing adhesives, resins, paints and other materials by changing the mixing paddle. Its double grip with bi-material handles has improved ergonomics and greater user comfort.

RUBI also has developed a rubber graduated RUBI-KANGURO “ITALIANO” bucket, which is easily cleaned and has greater longevity. Roderick noted that traditionally tile installers have used plastic buckets to mix thinset or grout. “To be used again, the buckets must be cleaned daily,” he said. “Because of the rigidity of the plastic after thin-set or grout hardened, the dried materials are nearly impossible to removewithout damaging the bucket. These buckets are rubber and much more easily cleaned when setting materials have dried in them.” The buckets have reinforcing ribs and a base and mouth which are designed to make the bucket very structurally robust. www.rubi.com.


Gundlach is distributing a new Montolit Masterpiuma P3 cutter– and it’s Montolit’s #1 bestselling cutter. “This cutter has gotten rave review on several tile-related Facebook sites, because  of its ease of use and its ability to cut virtually every type of tile available,” Roderick said. “Many of our members are amazed at how well it works.”


It can cut all types of tile quickly and accurately, ranging from thicknesses of 0-22mm. It even makes cutting on a diagonal safe and simple. It features an accurate, powerful and effective ergonomic push scrib handle, a self-adjustable patented scoring system and easy, fast set-up, transport and storage due to the patented foldable design. Adaptable for large-format tiles as well. www.montolit.com

Not every tile line offers bullnose pieces for finished edges. But the Raimondi Bull Dog™ bullnose machines, made by Raimondi and distributed by Donnelly Distribution LLC, allows installers to make custom bullnose pieces of porcelain or stone easy. The pump-cooled machine bullnoses and bevels, offering rough, finished and polished levels of finishing. www.raimondiusa.com

 

Another product from Raimondi is the Raimondi Maxititina Multi-Functional Floor Machine with Grouting Paddle. While this is not a NEW machine, it is innovative in that it allows contractors to grout a floor without kneeling, clean a floor, or grind/scarify or prepare subfloors to improve the bond. It allows installers to level out high spots on concrete, and power grout a job at 55 rpm, spreading the grout and packing the joints full. It also can seal floors in a jiffy, and polish them to a desired level of shine, at 110 rpm.

 

Also useful is the Berta by Raimondi which has a large replaceable sponge drum which rotates to clean freshly-grouted floors, which is a major time saver on large floor installations.

Finally, with dimensions of tile growing larger and larger, the ETM Grip by European Tile Masters facilitates handling and back-buttering of gauged porcelain panels. It has 12 fully-adjustable suction cups and four adjustable handles, can be configured to multiple lengths (up to 10’) and multiple shapes (including U and Z shapes), and can be tilted from 90 to 15-degree angles. The ETM Grip allows two people to move and manage today’s larger format tiles with ease. www.europeantilemasters.com

Tech Talk – March 2017

Using the NTCA Reference Manual to prevent or solve radiant heat issues

By Lesley Goddin 

Radiant heat and electric floor warming is one of the fastest growing sectors in the tile industry. In fact, in our TECH and TRENDS issues, it’s one of the biggest section – with more products being introduced that take advantage of NEST or smart phone technology to monitor and operate automated temperature controls, or new mat-and-cable configurations that speed installation while offering a more custom layout and guarding against cracking at the same time.

Electric floor warming systems seem to get simple to install all the time – a far cry from the days of cumbersome hydronic pipe systems. These simple, easy mat-and-cable systems make installation fast and relatively easy.

That being said, there are cautions when installing radiant heat systems that are best heeded to ensure a flawless project. The 2016/2017 NTCA Reference Manual examines Radiant Heat Issue for Tile & Stone Installations in chapter 6: Specialized Installation Procedures, page 134. Presented in a Problem/Cause/Cure format and compiled from decades of field experience, the recommendations in the NTCA Reference Manual help installers prevent problems in the field and give guidelines on managing them if they do occur.

For instance, a few of the scenarios include:

Problem: Excessive tile lippage

Cause: Lack of mortar of self leveling underlayment cement used to encapsulate the radiant heat system

Cure: Securely attach the radiant heat system so it stays flat on floor and cover the system with sufficient mortar or self leveling underlayment cement. 3/4” of dry pack of 3/8” SLU over the system.

Problem: Grout or mortar system is very powdery or weak.

Cause: Provided the grout and mortar system was properly mixed and installed, the main cause would be running the radiant heat system before the cement based products are allowed to cure: a minimum of seven days.  Excessive moisture exposure from below or above may impact mortars or SLUs.

Cure: Make sure all parties involved with the radiant heat system know the system cannot be put in service until the installation products are allowed to cure.

Problem: The thermostat overheats or even melts when the radiant heat system is turned on.

Cause: Damage of this type generally is caused by overloading the circuit, trying to heat too much floor area on one thermostat or running a 120v thermostat on a 240v circuit.

Cure: Make sure the radiant heat system is matched in terms of voltage and sized correctly to the circuit capacity and thermostat. It also could indicate the wire nuts are not sufficiently tightened. Make

sure a licensed electrician makes the final connection.

Problem: The radiant heat system doesn’t warm up.

Cause: The main reason for this is a broken or severed heating element.

Cure: Take care to protect the heating system during installation. This problem will require splicing/repairing the heating element.

Problem: The radiant heat system doesn’t provide evenly spread or consistent warmth.

Cause: The main reason for this is varying or wrong spacing of cables or tubes. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations. Lack of insulation under the heat system may also cause heat-loss or heat-sink in areas of the subfloor. Proper insulation underlayment should be designed by the architect.

Cure: Re-design floor and heat system installation including insulating tile underlayment. This cure will require splicing/repairing the heating element. In case of heat loss due to lack of insulation under the heat system, the application must be redesigned.

The NTCA Reference Manual provides more recommendations for successful radiant heat installations – and successful installations for a range of situations and products. To obtain your copy, visit the Industry Technical Manuals section under the NTCA Store link on the NTCA website, www.tile-assn.com, or enter http://bit.ly/2mqafg9 into your browser.

The SunTouch SunStat® Connect Programmable Touch Screen w/ Wi-Fi / Model# 500875  lets you control floor heating remotely, using a mobile app or via the web. Adjust floor heating settings any time from anywhere. Additional features let the system compensate for weather changes to save on energy use.suntouch.com

The OJ Microline® touchscreen thermostats can be used with any electric floor heating system to provide intelligent, intuitive, programmable and adaptive control. WLAN connectivity allows homeowners to remote control their heating system via an app from anywhere at all. www.ojelectronics.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schluter’s DITRA-HEAT-TB, now DITRA-HEAT-DUO, reduces sound transmission in multi-story residential buildings, while warming the floor and supporting the covering to ensure a lasting installation.  It also offers faster warm-up times. www.schluter.com

Nuheat electric radiant floor heating systems offers a variety of solutions from pre-built custom mats, off-the-shelf standard sizes, cable for on-site modifications fitting perfectly into uncoupling membrane. The Nuheat line of Next Generation Thermostats includes the industry’s first WiFi-enabled thermostat that Works with Nest, taking comfort and energy savings to the next level by working together to automatically adjust to your schedule, sensing and reacting to your ever changing lifestyle. www.nuheat.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RPM Mats, “the original” heat wire installation mat system, can be used to replace anti-fracture membranes and are designed to ease the installation process for all brands of electric in-floor heat wire with wire spacing at any 1/2″ increments. Made in the USA of recycled materials. www.rpmmats.com

The Warmup 4iE® thermostat finds the smart way to heat your home more efficiently. Two options are offered, with and without WiFi. The 4iE can be installed like a traditional underfloor heating thermostat or 3-wire thermostat for central heating. The WiFi is simple and intuitive to set up. Free installer training classes, and a selection of decorator faceplates available. warmup.com

 

 

 

 

 

Providing consistent comfort and control for many years, the Warm Tiles® New FGS (programmable) & FG (non-programmable) model thermostats offer state-of-the-art temperature control, and easy programming functionality.A sensor embedded in the mortar below the finished floors monitors the actual floor temperature to obtain optimal comfort levels. http://bit.ly/2mLdy58

The WarmlyYours TempZone™ Heating Cable (Twin) warms any room with an ultra-low EMF. The twin conductor has a 15’ cold lead and is available in two voltage options and a range of lengths. It can also be paired with the Prodeso Cable Installation Membrane, an uncoupling and crack isolation membrane with rounded square-shaped reliefs,  that offers versatile layout options and waterproofing. Warmlyyours.com

 

 

Tech Talk – October 2016

TEC-sponsorSealers, maintenance and more

Contractors offer value-added service, keep connected with customers

By Lesley Goddin

The tile or stone is installed, the area cleaned up, and you step back and admire your work, then go on to your next job, right?

Nope.

Contractors say cleaners, sealers and maintenance packages can add protection to the project and its long-term beauty and performance, and keep contractors connected to their customers so they are top of mind for that next tile or stone job or referral to a friend or business.

Not a one-size fits-all proposition

Martin Brookes, of NTCA Five Star Contractor Heritage Tile and Marble, Mill Valley, Calif., said that manufacturers have mispromoted sealers over the years, giving the impression that “the installer applies a magic substance to a surface that allows them to abuse the tile and grout, when in fact it’s more of a protectant that gives added amount of time to remove a substance, over a non-protected surface.”

Brookes said that not all tile or grouts require a sealer, and sealers exposed to UV light may need regular reapplication. “It’s not a one-shoe size fits all scenario.”

Sealer applied and allowed to flash on the surface, possibly on stone that was too hot or sealer applied in direct sunlight.

Sealer applied and allowed to flash on the surface, possibly on stone that was too hot or sealer applied in direct sunlight.

Heritage highly recommends a maintenance package when stone is installed. “We recommend StoneTech® Revitalizer as maintenance cleaner, and always warn of not using harmful toxic cleaners around natural stone and metallic tile,” he said. “We have however noticed over the years that ‘green’ cleaning products don’t have the cleaning power of the more toxic, harmful ones so there is a compromise.”

Brookes also said that the combination of green cleaning products, shower gels, shampoo, body oils and the humid environment of a shower is contributing to frequent growth of the bacterium Serratia Marcescens. This gram-bacterium, which creates a pinkish-reddish-orange slimy bloom on surfaces, is a culprit in urinary tract and respiratory infections, especially in hospital settings and where instrumentation is involved for the patient.

“We educate the end user on the limitations of a sealer and inform them it’s not a one-time application; regular maintenance and reapplication will safeguard their investment,” he said.

An attempt to remove a stain with a poultice only made the situation worse.

An attempt to remove a stain with a poultice only made the situation worse.

Products used:

  • STONETECH /LATICRETE sealers
Becoming the local go-to maintenance experts

For NTCA State Ambassador Dirk Sullivan of Portland, Oregon’s Hawthorne Tile, requests for repairs and recaulking or regrouting have been frequent since he started his business in 2000. This kind of work “helped pay the bills” during the 2008-10 economic downturn, he said. But once the business of larger, custom jobs picked up again, there wasn’t much time to pursue this type of work.

Until Sullivan had a revelation: “If we had a team to manage this specific line, we could become the go-to experts,” he said. “Not only that, but we could have a team ready to set up maintenance programs as we completed our high-end custom jobs.” Longtime employee Jason Ballard (CTI, ACT) was eager to take on this new role, applying his “eye for detail, understanding of TCNA standards and excellent customer service.”

Hawthorne Tile has evolved its selection of products, choosing Dry Treat, a relatively exclusive product in the region. It added in LATICRETE and AquaMix products to fill some holes in local representation.

After meeting Fila’s Jeff Moen at Coverings early this year, Sullivan was super impressed with the line of cleaners and the “top-notch customer service” offered by this company, which includes educating Hawthorne staff – and by the fact that Hawthorne would be the exclusive distributor of the line.

“As we complete our projects, we give our customers a gift bag with sample cleaning products and instructions as well as a refrigerator magnet with our restoration team contact number and info for re-ordering cleaning products as they need it,” Sullivan said.

“We have found that this type of full service means we have a loyal customer for life. Not just when they need tile installed – which as it turns out… is not often enough!”

Products used:

  • Dry Treat
  • LATICRETE
  • AquaMix
  • Fila
3-tech

J&R Tile crews applying sealer on different types of surfaces.

Pre-construction discussion,  free maintenance education ends headaches

How do you combat lack of care in commercial kitchens, lack of sanitary cove base in restroom facilities and the darkening and residue buildup consequences of using dirty mop heads with regular detergent soap?

If you are Five Star Contractor J&R Tile, Inc. of San Antonio, Texas, you offer custom maintenance packages free for the property owner of a new construction or remodel to pass on to the custodial staff, along with complimentary product samples with demonstrations to help staff members use proper procedures to maintain their warranty and keep the project looking great.

Free? Yep, that’s what NTCA State Ambassador Erin Albrecht of J&R Tile said. The company trains and educates maintenance/facilities personnel on application, leaving the door open for calls or questions. “Most don’t know – or don’t know where – to purchase professional strength tile and stone cleaners,” she said. “We offer services, but we leave the stickers on the bottles on where the customer can reorder and our cards to contact us to order and ship to them.”

4-techFila products are the company’s go-to, due to its outstanding customer support, and a useful iPhone app for staff and customers that displays a flowchart of the proper product for each application. Lori Coates, StoneTech rep out of Houston, also provides unbeatable customer service.

“If we had more partnerships like this in the industry commercially, our installations as contractors would be longer-lasting and more aesthetically-pleasing. That relationship would build customer loyalty with the contractor, and brand loyalty with the product. The staff always knows they can trust you because you care about your installation, long after the project is complete.”

In addition to the free maintenance service, J&R dialogs in pre-construction about cove base and other options like metal trims. “We believe when cove bases are deleted because trim pieces can be pricey with budgetary constraints, it is our due diligence to offer solutions for the life of the installation with the end user in mind,” she said.

And J&R has found in problematic commercial kitchens where they are called in to “regrout,” management has been inaccurately or incompletely informed about how to maintain their floors. “Most of these facilities have gotten to the point where standing water is in the kitchen and it is a health/safety hazard.”

Providing a custom maintenance package, with proper instructions from the get-go, eliminates these problems, and contributes to satisfied customers and repeat business.

Products used: 

  • Fila
  • STONETECH

Tech Talk – August 2016

TEC-sponsorExterior porcelain rainscreen wall systems

june-tech-01By Rich Goldberg, AIA, CSI –
Professional Consultants International LLC & PROCON Consulting Architects, Inc.

(Editor note: This is the third in a series of three articles by Rich Goldberg about exterior ventilated façades. This installment examines a case study project incorporating a ventilated porcelain rainscreen exterior wall system.)

 

Introduction

The first article in this series appeared in April 2016 TileLetter, and provided an overview of exterior ventilated porcelain rainscreen wall technology, including exciting new developments in porcelain panel sizes, thicknesses, and systems for precise engineering and mechanical attachment of porcelain panels to building façades. The concept of “ventilated rainscreen” walls was explained, including the benefits of ventilated wall cavities and continuous insulation to meet strict energy code requirements.

The second article appeared in June 2016 TileLetter, and explored the challenges facing the tile industry with rapid changes in tile technology and consumer demand.  To survive, we must adjust to some rather uncomfortable changes. The ancient proverb “Live by the sword, die by the sword” is certainly in vogue today as all industries are struggling to survive by making drastic changes to adjust to entire new technologies. Our design and consulting firm is no different, as we are in the process of making a challenging and complex transition to designing and engineering ventilated porcelain facades.

In this installment, we will explore a case study of the design and construction of a cutting-edge school building project. I will share with you some of the behind-the-scenes design and engineering of a typical ventilated porcelain rainscreen wall system, as well as a pictorial sequence of the project under construction.

CREC Museum Academy
Bloomfied, Conn.

The case study project is the CREC Museum Academy in Bloomfield, Conn., currently under construction. The Capital Region Education Council (CREC) Museum Academy offers education outside the traditional learning environment for 522 students in grades PreK – 5. By opening up the worlds of history, visual arts, living museums, performances and exhibition, students have a forum to develop their own curiosity about the world in which they live.

The design concept for the 75,000-sq.-ft. building follows the philosophy about fundamental changes in elementary level education. The exterior façade was designed around the ventilated rainscreen concept not only for functional reasons (ventilated cavity for ideal thermal and moisture control, energy efficiency of continuous insulation and air/moisture/vapor barrier, ease of access for maintenance), but also for conceptual reasons (expression of embracing new building technologies, curiosity of “how buildings work”).

Figure 1

Figure 1

The exterior façade contains approximately 35,000 sq. ft. of porcelain panels in addition to insulated glass windows and curtain walls. The porcelain panels are mechanically attached to an aluminum sub-frame, both of which were precisely engineered by PROCON and prefabricated by manufacturer Crossville-Shackerley. The system, commercially known as the “Sureclad® System,” was selected not only because of the ventilated rainscreen capabilities, but also because of the design attributes unique to this system: 1) access to remove and replace any porcelain panel, 2) flexibility for adjustment in all dimensions, and 3) properly designed components to allow for coastal wind loads, differential thermal movement and seismic activity.

 

Design and engineering

The fact that this wall system is completely pre-fabricated eliminates many of the typical field fabrication challenges for tile contractors. However, the trade-off is the challenge associated with complex coordination and understanding of dimensional tolerances and as-built field conditions – you simply cannot make any significant cuts to fit in the field, and the proper handling to prevent breakage due to lead times for prefabrication is critical. Another attribute of the Crossville-Shackerley Sureclad system was quick turn-around fabrication at their U.S. facility.

 

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 1 is an example of the precise design and engineering of the aluminum sub-frame for a full-scale mock-up of this project. The elevation of the framing indicates the placement and precise dimension of each component. Despite our precise design, the construction of the back-up wall (metal studs and gypsum sheathing) was out of plumb as is all too common with most field-constructed rough wall systems.

 

Figure 3

Figure 3

Construction sequence

Figure 2 shows the application of the air/moisture/vapor (AMV) barrier to the back-up wall sheathing. The AMV is a critical component of the continuous thermal and moisture-control function of a ventilated rainscreen wall. Even the penetrations for the aluminum support brackets fasteners through the AMV must be considered, as well as thermal breaks (green plastic isolation pads) between the aluminum brackets and the structural back-up wall. Air/moisture/vapor control is now highly regulated by building codes as well as by fire codes (NFPA 285).

Figure 3 is a view of the support bracket installation. The ease of installation of the porcelain panels is critically dependent on the layout and precision alignment of these supports.

Figure 4

Figure 4

Figure 4 shows how the windows have a sub-frame which envelope the ventilated cavity and allows the window to be flush with the porcelain panel surface. The sub-frame contains continuous flashing and waterproofing to tie in with the AMV. Windows can also be recessed using a similar metal frame or porcelain panel returns.

Figure 5 illustrates the installation of vertical T-shaped structural supports. These vertical supports serve several functions: 1) to allow attachment of the horizontal channels to which the porcelain panels are attached; 2) to transfer wind and gravity loads to the underlying structure, and most important 3) to provide adjustment of plumb and flatness alignment to underlying walls, which often exceed acceptable tolerances.

Figure 5

Figure 5

Figure 6 is a view of the installation of continuous insulation. Our firm always recommends that architects use mineral wool insulation in ventilated rainscreen wall systems. This is first and foremost because this material is completely fire safe, unlike foam insulation, despite dubious manufacturer claims for open-jointed ventilated-cavity wall systems. This material is also available with a black painted facing, so that no yellow, pink or other shiny material is exposed to view through open joints between the porcelain panels. The insulation is continuous, with the exception of thickness of the brackets and vertical T-shaped supports, which is allowed under strict energy codes.

Figure 6

Figure 6

Figure 7 is a leading edge view showing the installation of the horizontal supports for the porcelain panels. You will note that these aluminum supports are provided in a black anodized coating so that no shiny aluminum is exposed to view through open joints between the panels; this is the only exposed metal along horizontal joints. The Sureclad system design is unique in that there is only one horizontal support rail per tile panel course, compared to all other systems which 1) require two horizontal rails for each panel, and 2) once a panel is in place on a two-horizontal rail system, there is no room to lift up and remove a panel once the panel above is installed. The one-horizontal rail profile allows panels to be secured by engagement into a channel contained in the top of the horizontal rail profile, then tilted up into place and secured with a stainless steel fastener through the open joints between the panels into the lower portion of the horizontal profile to receive the panel above.

Figure 7

Figure 7

Figure 8 shows how once all of the underlying components are in place and properly aligned, the installation of the porcelain panels is incredibly simple, with very high production rates – the façade literally looks substantially complete in a matter of days! As discussed in the April 2016 article, the porcelain panel technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and we are already developing design and engineering requirements as well as handling and installation details for mechanically attached large-format porcelain tile panels similar in size (3 x 10 feet / 1 x 3 m and greater) to those currently available in large-format thin porcelain tile panels (LTPT). Anticipate the inevitable changes to the tile industry and seize the opportunities!

Figure 8

Figure 8

Richard P. Goldberg, AIA, CSI, NCARB is an architect and president of Professional Consultants International, LLC – Connecticut, and PROCON Consulting Architects, Inc.-Florida, both building design and construction consulting companies. Goldberg specializes in exterior building envelope systems, with sub-specialties in concrete, porcelain tile, natural and engineered stone, brick and concrete masonry, terrazzo, glass and waterproofing material applications.

Goldberg holds National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certification, and is a registered architect in the U.S. in multiple states, including Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Florida. He is a professional member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). Goldberg participates in numerous tile industry standards committees, is a National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Recognized Industry Consultant, and received the prestigious NTCA Ring of Honor Award in 2014.

Tech Talk – July 2016

TEC-sponsorSuccessful glass tile installation for pools

By Tom Domenici, area technical manager, H.B. Fuller Construction Products

tech-01Once you’ve seen a swimming pool finished with glass mosaic tiles, their popularity for both residential and commercial installations is immediately appreciated. Because they reflect natural light, glass mosaic tiles can give swimming pools a lustrous, shimmering appearance. They’re available in almost any color, size and pattern imaginable.

Here are the seven main components of a beautiful and long-lasting glass tile pool installation.

Porcelain or glass tile is the right choice for saline pools. Use a premium mortar that can withstand salt exposure and a chemical-resistant grout.

Porcelain or glass tile is the right choice for saline pools. Use a premium mortar that can withstand salt exposure and a chemical-resistant grout.

1. Choosing tile

Today, mosaic glass tile manufacturers often create sheets of tile by bonding the individual tiles to a paper or plastic facing or by adhering the backs of the tile to an open-weave mesh that allows the mortar to come into contact with the tile backs. Using this type of tile can help save time. However, if a water-soluble adhesive was used to bond the mosaic tiles to the mesh backing, that adhesive could re-emulsify once submerged. To avoid this, confirm with the tile manufacturer that the mosaic glass tile itself, and the sheet mounting method used, are suitable for pool installations in their environment, whether interior or exterior. Or use paper-faced tiles, which provide an unimpeded surface on the tile back for bonding.

2. Cutting tile

If the tile layout requires partial sheets, simply score the plastic sheeting, mesh or paper holding the tiles together with a utility knife as needed. If you need to cut the tiles themselves, use specialized glass mosaic tile cutting tools, as other cutters may shatter the small tiles.

The Robert D. Love Downtown YMCA in Wichita, Kan., contains more than 50,000 sq. ft. of mosaic and large-format tile.

The Robert D. Love Downtown YMCA in Wichita, Kan., contains more than 50,000 sq. ft. of mosaic and large-format tile.

3. Waterproofing pools

Over the primary waterproof membrane on the shell of the pool (per TCNA P602-16), you must provide a secondary waterproofing and crack isolation membrane.

Before applying the secondary membrane, smooth the substrate with a deep patch and patch additive that’s fast-setting, or a bonded mortar bed. Then clean the substrate of all contaminants, residues and dirt. Pre-fill all concrete cracks up to 1/8” wide. Treat all control joints, substrate joints, field seams and corners; anywhere vertical surfaces meet horizontal surfaces, such as curbs, bench seats and columns; anywhere dissimilar materials meet, such as drains and expansion/control joints.

Then, apply the waterproofing membrane. Install it just below the tile to help prevent water from leaking into the mortar bed and to help prevent problems associated with saturation and moisture expansion. For an efficient installation, use a membrane that allows for the direct bonding of tile. After the membrane is properly cured, test for leaks.

 

NTCA Five Star Contractor Fox Ceramic Tile of St. Marys, Kan., turned to TEC® products to aid with fast-paced tile installation in a variety of challenging environments.

NTCA Five Star Contractor Fox Ceramic Tile of St. Marys, Kan., turned to TEC® products to aid with fast-paced tile installation in a variety of challenging environments.

4. Setting tiles

 

Glass mosaic pool tile applications require polymer-modified mortars that are suitable for submerged installations. Keep in mind the mortar’s color can affect the appearance of clear or translucent glass mosaics. White mortars typically produce the most pleasing and consistent appearance – allowing glass tile to maintain its natural luminosity. Similarly, mortar ridges may be visible through clear or translucent tiles. Therefore, after troweling the mortar, use the flat side of the trowel to flatten mortar ridges before setting tile. Back-butter the tile to achieve a uniform appearance and proper coverage.

5. Grouting tile

Only certain grouts are appropriate for submerged areas. Consider a high-performance, ready-to-use grout or an advanced-performance cementitious grout, that can be used in submerged areas for glass tile installation. Saltwater pools require a grout that can be fully submersible and has chemical resistance, such as an epoxy grout. Proper pool water chemistry is essential for the future condition of the tile and grout. Use an appropriate flexible caulk joint, in place of grout, for predetermined movement joints in the tile installation.

The 110,000 sq. ft. LEED®-Certified facility features large -format porcelain tile on its lobby floor, ceramic and porcelain tiles throughout the building, and porcelain mosaics in its pools, whirlpool and steam room. 

The 110,000 sq. ft. LEED®-Certified facility features large -format porcelain tile on its lobby floor, ceramic and porcelain tiles throughout the building, and porcelain mosaics in its pools, whirlpool and steam room.

6. Wait time

Advise your customer to refer to the grout and mortar manufacturer wait time before filling the pool with water to allow the tile grout and mortar to fully cure before use in submerged areas.

7. Maintaining tile

In general, glass mosaic tile is very low maintenance. It is naturally stain resistant, and the use of a high-quality grout will help the installation maintain its appearance. However, tile in even the cleanest pools will eventually accumulate calcium deposits and other residue.

Cleaning techniques will vary depending on the tile system and condition, but always do a small sample test area to determine the best procedure.

Regardless of the type of tile used, fun in the swimming pool begins with a successful tile installation. If you follow these simple steps and manufacturer instructions, your tile glass project will make a splash for a long time after your work is completed.

 

For this job, installer Fox Ceramic Tile used TEC® products to address each space’s unique demands, including time constraints and exposure to heat and harsh chemicals.

For this job, installer Fox Ceramic Tile used TEC® products to address each space’s unique demands, including time constraints and exposure to heat and harsh chemicals.

The TEC® brand is offered by H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc. – a leading provider of technologically advanced construction materials and solutions to the commercial, industrial and residential construction industry. Headquartered in Aurora, Illinois, the company’s recognized and trusted brands – TEC®, CHAPCO®, Grout Boost®, Foster®, ProSpec® and others – are available through an extensive network of distributors and dealers, as well as home improvement retailers. For more information, visit www.hbfuller-cp.com.

 

Exterior porcelain rainscreen wall systems

june-tech-01By Rich Goldberg AIA, CSI, NCARB
Professional Consultants International, LLC and PROCON Consulting Architects, Inc.

In the first article on this subject, I provided an update on large-format porcelain tile panel technology, and its emerging use as a mechanically attached cladding panel in exterior rainscreen building façade construction. The overall technical concepts of rainscreen wall systems were also summarized. In this installment, I will focus on the detailed technical issues associated with this new technology, and the challenges to tile contractors who choose to grow their business with this emerging porcelain tile technology.

Training and re-tooling for tile contractors

The challenges for education, training and re-tooling are best examined by breaking down the three major components of porcelain panel rainscreen wall systems:

  • Porcelain panel
  • Structural support framework
  • Structural back-up wall and ancillary components
Fig. 1 Details of prefabricated porcelain panels.

Fig. 1 Details of prefabricated porcelain panels.

Porcelain panels – Most quality porcelain rainscreen systems utilize panels that are completely pre-fabricated and delivered ready to install (Figure 1). In our design practice, we avoid any manufacturer’s system that allows field fabrication of such precision wall systems. The cutting of each panel, many with unique and precise dimensions, and the precision required for drilling and setting mechanical anchors (Figure 2) dictates that the majority of porcelain panels be pre-fabricated under controlled factory conditions to deliver a high-quality, durable wall system.

Fig. 2 Precision attachment detail for lower portion of panel, allowing for expansion, contraction and structural movement.

Fig. 2 Precision attachment detail for lower portion of panel, allowing for expansion, contraction and structural movement.

Many tile contractors are already familiar with large-format thin tile (a.k.a. LTPT or “gauged large format porcelain tile”), and understand the specialty equipment and training necessary for proper delivery, handling and installation of such panels for interior walls and flooring. Depending on the size of porcelain panels used in exterior rainscreen walls, such equipment may also be necessary in addition to specialty hoisting sub-frames and lift equipment. Safe handling is especially critical, not only due to the expense of each panel, but in many cases due to the unique dimensions of each panel (you can’t just take another tile from the box!).

Structural support framework – as with the porcelain panels, the majority of the aluminum framework used to support the porcelain panels is typically proprietary and provided pre-fabricated by the manufacturer; we likewise avoid manufacturer’s systems that rely on stock framing components and allow contractors to construct solutions in the field that have not been engineered or vetted by performance testing in the laboratory.

Fig. 3 Tile contractor training session for aluminum framework and porcelain panel installation procedures.

Fig. 3 Tile contractor training session for aluminum framework and porcelain panel installation procedures.

The proper installation and alignment of the supporting framework is the most crucial aspect in the construction of porcelain panel rainscreen wall systems. This is a significant departure from the “brick (tile) and mortar” skills typical of the tile trades, and requires skill and training in metal framing procedures (Figure 3). Again, based on experience, I only recommend considering manufacturer’s systems that provide fully pre-engineered and pre-fabricated proprietary supporting framework.

Similar to the porcelain panels, capabilities to understand and manage both the engineered shop drawings and the architect’s detail drawings are critical, especially due to the interfaces with other building systems such as the alignment with windows and attachment to the underlying structural wall components.

Structural back-up wall and ancillary components – this is the most complex and project-specific aspect of porcelain panel rainscreen wall systems, but the least problematic sub-system for the tile contractor. Tile contractors need to focus education and training efforts on the following:

  • Types of structural back-up wall systems – metal stud/sheathing (most common), concrete masonry units, or concrete
  • Waterproofing – continuous AMV (air, moisture, vapor) membranes
  • Insulation – continuous rigid insulation (outboard of back-up wall)
  • Flashings and accessories – metal and sheet-membrane flashings, primarily at interfaces with other building systems (window sills, heads, roof copings, etc.)
Figures 4 and 5 - Installation of porcelain rainscreen panels in progress, revealing ventilated air cavity and air, moisture and vapor (AMV) barrier installed by others.  Note this project did not require any outboard continuous insulation.

Figures 4 and 5 – Installation of porcelain rainscreen panels in progress, revealing ventilated air cavity and air, moisture and vapor (AMV) barrier installed by others.  Note this project did not require any outboard continuous insulation.

june-tech-06On many projects, the manufacturer’s engineer would coordinate efforts to evaluate the architect’s details and provide engineering requirements for attachment of the supporting framework to the back-up wall. Similarly, on many projects, the installation of the AMV would be performed by a waterproofing contractor in advance of the rainscreen wall system (Figures 4 and 5), and the project may or may not require external continuous rigid insulation (Figure 5). However, the manufacturer of the wall system is not responsible for providing those materials. In some cases, though, general contractors prefer the sub-contractor responsible for the installation of the porcelain panel rainscreen wall system to also coordinate and install the AMV, insulation, and all flashings (Figure 6) for single source responsibility.

Fig. 6 Coordination of installation with base of wall flashing and interface with cast stone base specified to avoid snow removal damage at base of columns.

Fig. 6 Coordination of installation with base of wall flashing and interface with cast stone base specified to avoid snow removal damage at base of columns.

Shop fabrication and erection drawings – In our design practice, we find that the biggest challenge for tile contractors, aside from specialized equipment and training required for handling and installation of these systems, is developing the resources and capabilities to understand and manage the crucial role of shop fabrication and erection drawings. Most quality porcelain rainscreen system manufacturers provide for and supply engineered shop drawings in the cost of their system, so tile contractors only need to concentrate training / human resources required to effectively manage the process. This not only includes technical capabilities for interaction with the manufacturer, their engineers, and the building architects, but also the logistics required for panel delivery, marking and sequencing logistics. The allocation of human resource time alone is probably the most underestimated task required for successful porcelain panel rainscreen wall systems.

Needless to say, the above considerations are not only important to construction, but also to bidding these types of projects. In the last installment of this series, I will review a case study of both completed and in-progress projects to provide more insight into actual construction.

Richard P. Goldberg, AIA, CSI, NCARB is an architect and president of Professional Consultants International, LLC – Connecticut, and PROCON Consulting Architects, Inc. – Florida, both building design and construction consulting companies. Goldberg specializes in exterior building envelope systems, with sub-specialties in concrete, porcelain tile, natural & engineered stone, brick & concrete masonry, terrazzo, glass and waterproofing material applications.

Goldberg holds National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certification, and is a registered architect in the U.S. in multiple states, including Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Florida. He is a professional member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). Goldberg participates in numerous tile industry standards committees, is a National Tile Contractor’s Association (NTCA) Recognized Industry Consultant, and received the prestigious NTCA Ring of Honor Award in 2014.

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